Representations of Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust in RE Textbooks for Norwegian Upper Secondary School
Suzanne Anett Thobro [+]
University of Tromsø
In Norwegian Religious Education (RE) textbooks, Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust are topics that have been covered in Judaism chapters since this religion first appeared in textbooks in the 1970s. However, contrary to what one might expect, these topics take up just a very small section of the chapters in most books. These topics nevertheless have an iconographic impact in some textbooks, due to the use of large illustrations of atrocities. In this chapter, I will provide an overview of continuity and change in the RE textbook representations of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, covering the period 1970-2014. Both the textual and the iconographic representations presuppose substantial prerequisite knowledge, and in the textbooks one can find three intertwined strategies for distancing readers from the problem of anti-Semitism. These strategies can be perceived as normative claims contributing to the formation of a Norwegian identity in the readers (pupils), but they also function as descriptive claims masking the fact that anti-Semitism both has been and continues to be an ongoing problem in Norway.